Monthly Archives: August, 2018

Lunch With Friends

I enjoyed lunch yesterday with my, very, good friends, Ryan and Elizabeth, and I wondered why I had long to enjoy their company.

I had the pleasure of working alongside both of my friends, prior to my retirement.


What lovely and hard working people they are!

I had the opportunity to meet their three sons, and I am not referring to the ‘oldies’ television show that I watched in its first run when I was a boy, but three of the most polite and well mannered young men that it has been my privilege to meet…in many years.

Have you ever known people that were simply the salt of the earth and backbone of any organization?  You have if you have met, Ryan and Elizabeth.

When I retired, almost eight years ago, and I was certain that I did not want a retirement reception…but rather to exit as I had entered…with no one aware of me or who I was.  My Director, Phil, told me that Elizabeth would not hear of me not having a reception and that she would be extremely disappointed if I did not submit!

I submitted.

As the years go by…I am glad that I did submit, as I walk through the Student Center several times per week and look at the Old Main Lounge, where my reception was held, and I always smile and reflect on the gracious people that took time out of the busy day…to bid me farewell.

Every-time that I speak with Ryan, I am struck with how considerate and thoughtful and wise that he is.  He is a quiet and unassuming person that thinks about what he says and, when you listen, every word is true.

As we reflected on the, now long past, of when I worked with them, I thought what an honor it is to have these two wonderful people…desire to have lunch with me…and I was humbled.

As we spoke I reflected on the past and my management style, of which I received my share of criticism, was to put people first…and excellent work will follow, I believed that if my wonderful staff felt that I cared about them that they would feel comfortable in producing an innovative and exciting and pristine work product that would resound to the entire university’s benefit.

I used to examine my management style and priorities…at least on an annual basis.  I would disclose to my wife some of the criticisms that I was receiving…and she told me that your management philosophy has worked for you for many years and do not change it now.

I never believed that the strong manager was the manager that blustered and criticized their staff for show and drama and to enhance their own image.

A great manager is behind the scenes and quick to give others the credit and a leader who no one knows, but the person that is being counseled, that constructive criticism was affected in order to enhance the professionalism and career of a vital colleague.

Many, when they knew of my retirement, told me that they were certain that the university would be seeking my opinion and my consulate, when I knew the truth…that they did not realize…and that was that the Building Services staff were my primary priority for over 32 years…and they are who I think about up unto and including this minute.



Through out our lives and in all endeavors…we have to prioritize our focus.

When I became a married man I knew from the moment that Mary Jane placed her little hand in mine and we turned around to face the attendees at our wedding…that I was going to have to begin…immediately…thinking about my wife’s needs and wants and dreams and our collaboration together.

When Aaron was born and I carried him into our little four room house in Elkville, Illinois…I knew that, now, my level of responsibility and love and concern and vision for the future…had increased by one.

When Jonathon was born and soon ran through the house and put Aaron’s toy truck in the toilet and flushed and then announced, joyfully, what he had done…I realized that my family of four and their individual needs and concerns were to be my concerns and my vision for our future.

When I began working at SIUC I, rapidly, understood how important the Building Services department was to the, global, betterment of the campus and the vital and integral needs of the recruitment and retention of our students.

I soon realized that there were many, essential, functions that our professional housekeeping team provided…that if we did not…not only would health and welfare suffer, but students and their parents would not choose SIUC and if they did…they would not stay.

I pointed out to chancellors and presidents, alike, that the reduction of our staff would cause rest rooms to be unsanitary and with no paper goods.

Classrooms would have Daily Egyptians and hamburger wrappers and used coffee cups…that would have to be kicked out of the doorways and dirty chalk boards with no chalk to write with.

Many of the tile floors at SIU are old tile made of asbestos.  If these tile floors are not maintained properly and our not coated with wax on a regular basis…the asbestos will become friable and a present health danger to the university community.

Many of the student workers that work in Building Services, are living so close to the margins, that to loose their job is to loose their ability to attend SIUC.

I am pleased to see such good leadership of PSO…now…because I have lived through long periods of time where custodial staff were told that they were non-essential.

I would liken this to the man who painted his living room…while his kitchen…was on fire.

Now, keep in mind…the issues that I am referring to…were many years ago….I have been retired for nearly 8 years.

But, one thing that was extremely evident to me was that the precious staff of Building Services is some of the most dedicated people that the university has…and their ideas and their thoughts and their solutions to problems…is critical to the success of this crucial and indispensable service for our beloved alma mater.

The Insidious Banality of Racism

I had the pleasure of viewing the new Spike Lee Film, ‘Blackkklansman’, earlier today.

The movie is based upon the true story of Ron Stallworth, who was the first African American to be hired by the Colorado Springs police department in the late 1970’s.

Mr. Stallworth told his story in his memoir, ‘Black Klansman’, and his book is the basis for the movie.

After first being assigned to the Records Room where he experiences the request of, white officers, asking him to retrieve the records of various, black, suspects…which they refer to as ‘Toads.’

When he informs the officer that he does not have, ‘any toads in the files…just humans’, the, bigoted white officer, thanks him by addressing him as, ‘officer Toad’.

Mr. Stallworth is soon transferred to the undercover detective division.  As he sits at his desk one day, reading the paper, he notices an advertisement recruiting membership into the Ku Klux Klan.  He picks up his telephone and immediately is speaking with the ‘wizard’ of the local KKK…and he wants to meet him.


The in person meeting is facilitated by a jewish member of the detectives being the face of Mr. Stallworth.


The films depiction of the insidiousness of bigotry and the banality of its execution…that was accepted as normal and relished in and encouraged by the white majority population….was frightening and  gripping.


David Duke, who was the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, at the time, was depicted in the film and had many conversations with Mr Stallworth, on the telephone and subsequently met, Phillip Zimmerman, the white officer depicting the Black Klansman…in Colorado Springs…for his induction into the KKK.



Blackkklalsman, illustrates the bigotry that the KKK has against Jews through the continual questioning of the Jewish officer, portrayed by, Adam Driver, by one klansman, in particular, as to his heritage.

Toward the conclusion of the movie David Duke is shown in news footage of late…extolling his support for President Trump.


On August 12, 2017, ‘A Unite the Right’, rally in Charlottesville turned deadly when a 20-year-old Ohio Man allegedly accelerated his car into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and leaving 19 others injured, five critically.


Neo Nazis carrying lit tiki torches…and swastikas on banners…marched through the streets of Charlotesville proclaiming, ‘Jews will not replace us’.


‘You also had some very fine people on both sides, Trump said, when referring to the neo-Nazis and white nationalists at Charlottesville.  ‘He also said said that the counter-protestors deserve an equal amount of blame for the violence.’    The Atlantic


I grew up with the insidious banality of racism surrounding me.  African Americans were described with the ‘N’ word and their children were called ‘pickaninnies’.  Someone close to me, in an attempt to be magnanimous to African Americans said, ‘you know…they did not ask to be born black.’

I thought the insidious racism that I heard, while growing up, was senseless and based in learned prejudice.

When I arrived at Southern Illinois University…my first foreman…was African American.  He gave me my start at the university…he treated me like a son…he was my mentor and my friend.

Forty years ago…when I began in Building Services at SIU…it was a white mans club.

There were few African Americans or women working for the organization…and almost none in positions of authority.

I was able to hire many African Americans and women and promote them to positions of authority and recommended the African American woman that replaced me as Superintendent.

The first major that I became a member of at SIU was do to an African American chair of the department being so nice to me and making me feel welcome and allaying my fears of having never taken a college course before and being a member of a family…where no one attended university.

One of my greatest allies and friends…and the first person that I promoted to foreman when I became Superintendent was, Jewel, and she was an African American and I was honored that she wanted to work with me.

I was advised, when I promoted or hired women or African Americans…that I could get around those hires and obtain the white male candidate.  My response was that it was my duty to hire the most qualified.

One of my best friends, Jeff, is Jewish.

One of my favorite chancellors, Sam, is Jewish.

Jo Ann, was my dear friend for many years and she was the first woman chancellor of SIUC.

Alfie, is a African American Muslim, that worked in my office as a student worker.  I was able to assist him with a job and a reentry to the university…and his mom hugs me every-time she sees me…and I tell, Alfie, that, ‘he is my son but he just will not call me daddy!’

The last time that I said that to Alfie, he responded, ‘that he would call me daddy!’

Racism is stupid and it is cruel and it is a learned behavior that is based ignorance…and I still have not done enough to combat it!

President Trump…just today…has said that there will be violence if the Republicans do not win in November.

Racism is deadly!






Stress or ‘Serenity Now!’

Have you ever felt stressed?

In todays hurry up and work harder society, you may answer…have I ever not felt stressed.

‘Life is short.’

‘Cut out negativity, forget gossip, say goodbye to people who don’t care.  Spend time with the people who are always there.’    Simple Reminders.

‘What do you call a person who is happy on Monday?  Retired.’    Sun Gazing

In our country there is so much emphasis placed upon succeeding in society and working longer hours and striving to climb on to the next rung of the ladder…that it is easy to miss the point of our existence.

There are some christian sects that equate money with God’s blessings.  They believe that if you are wealthy and have great possessions that, you are not only in the special class of humanity that the Creator loves, but your capitalistic success, on Earth, will determine your place in heaven.

California Representative, Duncan Hunter, and his wife, Margaret, have received a 60 count indictment in San Diego, filed in federal court.  The couple is accused of spending a quarter of a million dollars of campaign money to fund their extravagant lifestyles.  The 43 page indictment included a 14 thousand dollar trip to Italy and golf shorts for Duncan, and hundreds of dollars at In and Out Burger and a ticket for their pet rabbit to fly on an airplane.

When asked on Fox News, Representative Hunter responded, ‘She, (referring to his wife) was also the campaign manager, so whatever she did that’ll be looked into, I’m sure.’

Another news article says that the Hunters were overdrawn in their personal bank account, over 38 thousand dollars.

Now, I do not know what possessed the Hunters to go astray financially…but I do know that money and the lack thereof…creates a tremendous stress in the home and family.

I told myself that I would purchase a new I-Phone each time that  new one was issued or around two years.

The best model of the I-Phone that is currently for sale is $1,000.

I decided to make do with the $700.00 model that I have and own.

My brother, Bill, just purchased a flip phone…I may do the same…I liked the flip phone when I had it and considered it, somewhat, Star Trek, in design.

There is such an ethos in the United States that we must all make it on our own.  We pass by the homeless and wonder why they are in their abject condition.

I saw a photo, on Facebook, where four people were experiencing a Gondola ride in the canals of Venice, Italy.  This…for most of us…is a once in a lifetime experience!

All four of the people in the Gondola…were, intently, looking down at their I-Phones.

Another mass shooting has occurred in our nation…yesterday in Jacksonville, Florida.  Our nation is ill…and we need a doctor…and we need a prescription…to return to our former health.

Sweden is promoting small glass structures where a person can rent one and enjoy laying in the bed, in the total glass house, and gazing up at the stars.

Have you taken time…to gaze at the stars…recently?

I hear , of,  and observe wonderful members of my university, covering more and more job duties as their numbers diminish…and those that love excellence…experience stress.

Go to your local department store and see if you can find someone to help you.  Go to your local Wal-Mart and see if you can find a person to check you out…without a long wait.

American businesses received a massive tax cut…and they sent the money to the bank…and the stockholders are ecstatic as the dividends rise…and the workers, often, need food stamps to supplement their income.

We humans require rest.

Work is nobel and a wonderful and necessary pursuit.

But…you can become burned out…and often you do not know it…until, as the robot used to say on the popular 1960’s science fiction show ‘Lost in Space’, ‘all systems fail.’

I remember waking up at a camp meeting in Topeka, Kansas…when I was just a lad.  The air was cool coming through the, large, open shuttered windows.  I was with my friends…including my buddy, Jim Dunmyer, and I could smell the coffee and the biscuits and the bacon cooking in the building that we had our meals in.   I wanted to find out Gods will for my life…and I felt like I was in a good place to discover a piece of that road map.

I felt a peace that was palpable and a desire to have Gods approval and to have my life, somehow measure up to a greater purpose than myself.


A Peace of Mind

‘When I wake up from my bed in the morning

My saturate eyes open slowly and welcomes the morning sun

Then I feel warm and comfortable at peace of mind

The morning smell of the earth reminds me of my childhood

The wetness of flora brings me cool breeze.

I was born in this universe with peaceful nature around me

Then, I always felt that I was a star on my own brightness.

Learned, the love and kindness brings me a peace of mind.

Learned, the prayers for God brings me a peace of mind

Learned, the help for helpless brings me a peace of mind

Learned, the life of peace brings me a peace of mind

When my saturate eyes close slowly and welcomes the silent night

Then I fall sleep comfortably at peace of mind while praying God

to have another peaceful day.’


by Ravi Sathasivam





John McCain…A War Hero and a Statesman



In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Horatio and Hamlet are reminiscing regarding Hamlet’s, recently, deceased father:

Hamlet – My father – methinks I see my father.

Horatio – Where my lord?

Hamlet – in my mind’s eye, Horatio.

Horatio – I saw him once.  He was a goodly king.

Hamlet – He was a man.  Take him for all in all.

Hamlet – I shall not look upon his like again.


‘McCain graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958 and followed his father and grandfather-both four star admirals-into the U.S. Navy.  He became a naval aviator and flew ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers.  During the Vietnam War, he was almost killed in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire.  While McCain was on a bombing mission during Operation Rolling Thunder over Hanoi in October 1967, he was shot down, seriously injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese.  He was a prisoner of war until 1973.  McCain experienced episodes of torture and refused an out-of-sequence early repatriation offer.  The wounds that he sustained during the war left him with lifelong physical disabilities.  He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981 and moved to Arizona, where he entered politics.  In 1982, McCain was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served two terms.  He entered the U.S. Senate in 1987 and easily won reelection five times, the last time in 2016.’    Wikipedia



I came to a full appreciation of Senator McCain somewhat late in his career.  Although, I was hoping that he would be the Republican candidate in 2000 and I admired his candor and the ‘Straight Talk Express.’


What captivated my attention, was the Senator’s ability to work across the aisle of the Senate.


His working with Senator Russ Feingold, a Democrat, to produce the landmark legislation, regulating the financing of political campaigns, commonly know as the McCain-Feingold Act.

When John McCain was running as the Republican candidate for President in 2008, he illustrated what it was to be a statesman and and a gentleman.

At a McCain campaign event, on October 10th,  in Minnesota, the Senator took a question from a woman in the audience who said, ‘she had heard that Obama was an Arab.’

McCain responded, ‘I have to tell you.  Senator Obama is a decent person and a person you don’t have to be scared of as president of the United States.’

‘McCain passed his wireless wireless microphone to one woman who said, ‘I can’t trust Obama.  I have read about him and he’s not, he’s not uh—he’s an Arab.  He’s not—‘ before McCain retook the microphone and replied;’

‘No ma’am.  He’s a decent family man [and] he’s a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign’s all about.  He’s not [an Arab].’    Politico

Senator McCain was great friends with Ted Kennedy and Joe Liberman.


He wanted to place, Independent, Senator Joe Liberman on the Republican campaign ticket as his vice president.  His political advisors assured him that they would never be able to sell the choice of Liberman to the Republican National Convention.  I am not, at all certain, that they were right and he might have won if he had.

McCain’s final speech on the floor of the Senate called for a return to regular order and his warning that the Senate was getting nothing done!


Shortly after McCain’s final Senate speech he voted no on what was called the, ‘skinny repeal,’ of Obama Care.  Now, I don’t think that McCain was fan of Obama care…but he was, vehemently, against either political party ramming through legislation, from the top down, without the appropriate hearings and public testimony and collaboration by both parties.

Senator McCain’s final speech was at the National Constitution Center, ‘To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems, is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.’


Former presidents, Barrack Obama and George W. Bush, will eulogize the departed war hero and statesman at his funeral….at his request.


Note: All Photos are from Google.

Motivation @ Work

Have you ever noticed that some people are excited to be at work and have an upbeat attitude and never shirk responsibility…but rather seek additional duties and tasks to facilitate the smooth flow of the employer’s operation?

Now, in my beginnings at SIU, others, who were not of the ‘more work passion club’, would call their colleagues who sought to be busy throughout the work-shift, ‘brown nose’s’, and would warn them that their job performance was making everyone else look bad.

Members of the office or shop or classroom, that have a ‘can-do’ attitude and who want to see the stamp of excellence on their work product…are to be prized and as valuable as the scripture, ‘I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.’   Isaiah 13:12    KJV

How does a manager or supervisor or administrator…motivate their staff to be seekers of excellence?

I recall, that in my case, I was extremely grateful for the opportunity that Southern Illinois University afforded to me and my new bride.

I, quickly, saw that there was room for advancement in Building Services and the production of a clean facility would speak volumes regarding my viability as a integral member of the staff.

To feel appreciated by both your customers and your supervisors and management is extremely important.

There is a transformation that occurs when an employee feels that they are valued by their employer.

During my early years with the university I began receiving complimentary letters from building occupants and departments that I was servicing.  These letters…so encouraged me…and I began to have more and more buy- in to the organization.

I remember, Ray Phoenix, who was my foreman when I was assigned to the Wham building as its Building Custodian, telling me that I was going to be the next foreman.

Foreman, was my career goal in Building Services…and I could not believe that, Ray, thought enough of my work performance to tell me this information regarding a position that I had been striving for and had been passed over…twice…for contestants that I did not feel were as qualified as I.

About a year and one half later…I became the assistant superintendent of Building Services…I was the junior foreman….and I was 29 years old.

We all need to feel like that we matter to the organization.  A wise leader can project to all members of his or her staff, that they are important.  This can only be accomplished if the leader is sincere and not reciting the correct platitudes that are expected for the, ‘great unwashed.’

A manager or an administrator must speak to the employee that they are complimenting, from first hand knowledge of the person’s accomplishments.  This type of leader is a person that believes that they have been given the job of directing a team of equals.

A leader that inspires is a leader that is your colleague not your taskmaster!

My friend, Brad Dillard, is an inspiring leader, because he sees Plant and Service Operations as a team and he is there to facilitate everyone’s success.

My friend, Ryan, is a professional that loves to produce an excellent work product.  He strives to ensure that all of his areas proclaim the golden opportunity that SIU has to offer.

My son, Jonathon, constantly seeks to perform the epitome of customer service and to do so with a smile and a sunny attitude.

My friend, Elizabeth, endeavors to produce an excellent work product, everyday, while at the same time assisting civil service staff throughout the campus.

My son, Aaron, is a leader that regularly works to motivate the members of his staff.

I had the good fortune to be a member of the Civil Service Council for 20 years, including my four years of service as their SUAA representative.  This is a group of civil service employees that are going above and beyond the call of duty.  These folks are the elected representatives of their university sectors and they work countless hours to help their colleagues.

I was amazed, each time, that a leader at the university, spoke to me regarding my good work.  I not only did not expect the encounters…I was shocked when they occurred and I continued to feel more affinity for SIU and wanted to, be a part of the solving of every problem besetting…my school.

When I was promoted to the superintendent of my department, I told the director of PSO and his staff…that my goal was to make our enemies like us and our friends love us.

I had the management philosophy that a good manager could bring a poor work performing member of the staff up to satisfactory and a satisfactory member of the staff up to excellent…and it worked!

Everyone does not respond to the same motivational techniques…in fact each person should be motivated on a personal level…but everyone can be motivated…if they want to be.

That is the key….the employee has to want to improve and to be motivated and to buy-in to the organization.

If they do not…then other issues that are beyond the managers control…are in play.



Rain and Fuzzy Memories

It has been raining all day and the temperature is 65 degrees.

My kind of weather!

I have always enjoyed rain and cool weather and clouds…and night.

I think my affinity for night comes from working for nearly 20 years on either the second or third shift.

We night shift workers understand each other…we have a common bond.  When our families and friends and everyone else are arising to begin their day…we are ending ours.

My mother-in-law, many years ago, often telephoned, early in the morning, and when I answered, groggily, she would exclaim, ‘Jay…you are not still in bed…are you?’

When I responded, as politely as an exhausted shift worker can say, that yes I had been in bed for 90 minutes…she would remark that she guessed I did work at night.

When I worked third shift, which is 11pm – 7am, we ate our lunch at 3 am.  When you are eating your lunch at 3 am…the world is, somewhat, different for you.

I enjoyed monster movies, when I was a lad, and I still do.

My cousin, Billy, was a monster movie aficionado, and he had a grand collection of, expensive, masks that fit completely over your head…and they had an authentic look.

One time we made a, short, 8mm movie where I portrayed the monster.  If memory serves me correctly, I wore the mask of the Creature from the Black Lagoon.  I also wore the Creature’s claws over my hands and I walked, slowly, toward the camera…gesturing in fish-man fashion.

I had some models of Frankenstein and Dracula and the wolf man that I had glued together, much like a model car kit, and then painstakingly, hand, painted, and they were lost in the fifty five gallon barrel that my parents used for burning the household trash…as we lived in the country.

I had a wonderful comic book collection.  When I accompanied my mom to the grocery store, The Food Center or Big Johns, I would purchase one, 12 cent, comic book per week.  As the years went by…I had an impressive collection.

I moved away from home the morning after I graduated from High School…I was 17 years old.  A few months later I told my mother that I wanted to retrieve my comic books, as they might be worth some money some day.  She laughed, heartily, and remarked that she believed that she had burned them in the trash barrel…since it did not appear that I wanted them any longer.

I think about the comic book collection that got away…from time to time.

My mom was a wonderful woman…but when she asked you if you wanted what you had left behind…she meant what she said.

I also had a record collection from my time of belonging to the Columbia Record Club and purchasing one vinyl LP per month.  I had quite an assortment of records and listened to them often.

Several years later, mom asked me if I was ever going to take my record collection…and I commented that since CD’s were becoming so popular I doubted if any company would be making record players…much longer.

There is a saying, ‘everything old is new again.’

My aunt, Vema, had a reel to reel tape recorder and at each family gathering…she would make tapes of all present.  She loved to recount to me that when she asked me what I wanted for Christmas, on tape, that I, firmly, announced that I did not want a ‘short’…which is how I pronounced shirt.

Years later, I obtained a reel to reel tape recorder and enjoyed it for hours on end.  To this day I do not think that there is a better tape recorder than the reel to reel.

The DuQuoin State Fair begins tonight.  As I was growing up in Eldorado, Illinois…this was the event of the summer.

Each year we drove, the fifty miles from Eldorado to DuQuoin to enjoy a evening of State Fair bliss!

I saw a headless man…one year.

Another year, at the fair, I witnessed a woman turn into a gorilla!

And, even more mystifying was the snappy music and ladies in their bathing suits and the invitation to come inside…if you wanted to see more.

I never got to go inside?

The Hambeltonian Harness Race was held at the State Fair…for several years.  I am told that the Hambeltonian is the most renown harness race in the country.

Bob Hope performed at the fair on several occassions as well as Red Skelton.

In recent years we have had the pleasure of seeing both the late, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson perform.

The Fair sells Malone’s Taffy…and it is to die for!

Rainy days…are peaceful days…days of renewal and refreshment and regeneration for the coming challenges of life.

And, they are also good days….for fuzzy memories.

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The Mystery of Poor Work Performance

I was so thrilled to be hired by Southern Illinois University, 40 years ago, that I could not believe my good fortune and thought that, somehow, it was to good to be true.

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I had been employed in jobs that were more difficult and that paid much less…and had no benefits.

I was so afraid of not performing, up to par, that I would not take my entire 15 minute break or my 30 minute lunch as well as reporting to work…early.

My wife and I were newlyweds and she was thrilled that I had a job that she could, indeed, create a budget for and that we would be able to purchase enough groceries to feed us as well as pay our little mortgage on our house of 4 rooms.

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I was a Building Service Worker I, a janitor, and I was proud as a peacock of the opportunity!

After just few days I could see that there was room for promotion to a crew leader, a Building Custodian, if I did a good job and created a good name for myself.

Although it was commonly thought that you had to have pull to be hired by the University…I knew no one.

The first Christmas after my hiring on October 10, 1978 I relished that I was able to drive, in my new two door Ford LTD, with my new wife…and have nice Christmas gifts for my mother and step-father.

I felt like a player in the game of life.

I began cleaning Thalman Hall on the SIUC campus.  It was the General Accounting Building.  We often referred to it by its building number, 101.

The Building Service Worker that I followed had let the building become filthy.  Simply by doing my job…I began creating a good name among my colleagues.

As a manager, for 25 years, I dealt with personnel issues on a weekly basis.

The mysterious quandary, for me, was the staff member who appeared to have all of the necessary tools to accomplish the job that they had been assigned…with ease…yet they refused to do so.

I recall counseling a young woman, who was 17 years old, that if she did not improve her work performance that she was going to be terminated.  She, subsequently informed me that her father was a personal friend of the vice president of campus services…and that she would never be fired.

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I informed her that the message that I had given her, had come from the vice president.  I then proceeded to work with her for much of her shift in a last ditch effort to train her and bring her job performance up to satisfactory…so that she would not loose the greatest, job, opportunity that would ever be afforded to her.

The young woman continued to perform her work poorly and was terminated.

I have had, more than I care to remember, private counseling sessions with members of my staff that were on the road to loosing their position.  I had the practice and management philosophy that the meeting should be made up of three components.

  1. First, give the employee a sincere compliment regarding something that has impressed you regarding their work performance.
  2. Second, speak about the specific work duties that they are not performing properly and offer solutions ranging from; additional training, one of one supervisor monitoring…for a few work shifts and finally…to connect them with counseling if their performance problem was related to substance abuse or intellectual disability.
  3. Third, to once again deliver a heart-felt compliment to the staff member and assure them that I would do anything in my power to ensure that their performance improves…but they would have to tell me how that I could help them.

I have turned many colleagues around with this form of counseling….but not everyone.


There is a segment of employees that simply do not care if they are placing their work-load on their colleagues.

For whatever reason…they do not want to be where they are and they do not want to do what they are paid to do.

Now, this group of…’I really do not care,’  as the first lady had inscribed on her jacket, recently, at times can be turned around.  Often domestic issues or other home related problems are somewhat the cause of the lack of work focus.

Also, there is a culture of victimization that often stems from childhood that causes an errant employee to feel that everyone is their enemy and is out to get them…when in reality everyone is hoping beyond hope that they will just, ‘buckle down,’ and do the, fairly, routine and repetitive job functions that will enable them to continue to earn a living and facilitate their needs and those of their family.

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As a supervisor and a manager…one thing I knew…the deed of disciplining and participating in the termination of a member of my staff…was mine…and mine alone.

I performed a third shift inspection of Lawson Hall when I was the assistant superintendent.  The Building Custodian of Lawson Hall told me that he was thrilled that I had been promoted and that he and I, ‘had good rap.’

I told the gentleman that I had replaced in Thalman 101, that if he did not get the rest rooms cleaned up in Lawson Hall, which looked similar to the rest rooms that I had inherited in 1978…that I would be sitting across the table from him at Personnel and recommending his termination.

Now, this person had been on disability for several years and had came back to work  a few months prior to our discussion.  The next day he went on disability…again.


Physics teaches us that there is a positive and a negative ion charge.  To be a positive leader of men and women in the work place…necessary negative personnel adjustments…must happen…when all else fails.





The Candidate

Is is possible to go back in time…to explain the present?

‘The Watergate scandal was a major political scandal that occurred in the United States during the early 1970’s, following a break-in by five men at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 1972, and President Nixon’s administration’s subsequent attempt to cover up its involvement.  After the five burglars were caught and the conspiracy was discovered–chiefly through the work of a few journalist, Congressional staffers and an election finance watchdog official…’    Wikipedia


‘The scandal led to the discovery of multiple abuses of power by members of the Nixon administration, an impeachment process against the president that led to articles of impeachment, and Nixon’s resignation.  The scandal also resulted in the indictment of 69 people, with trials or pleas resulting in 48 being found guilty, many of whom were top Nixon officials.’    Wikipedia


I recall, vividly, when President Nixon resigned the presidency rather than undergo impeachment proceedings that he was certain he would not survive.


The Watergate proceedings were slow and ponderous and the information was forthcoming like the drip of a leaky faucet…until the pipe burst when it was discovered that Nixon had made tapes of his Oval Office conversations.


It is commonly agreed that the ‘cover-up’ was much worse than the crime of the Watergate break-in.


‘Cohen admitted that ‘in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,’ he kept information that would have harmed Trump from becoming public during the 2016 election cycle.’    CNN

When ‘the candidate’ was heard on the Access Hollywood tape…bragging about his license to ‘grab women by the p—-‘, many prominent members of Congress, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, said that they could not back him any longer.
‘When asked in a recent poll what bothered them most about Donald Trump-of a slew of controversies-likely voters picked on actions above all others: When the candidate mocked a reporter with a disability last November.’    NBC News  August 11, 2016

Presidential lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said, ‘In an effort to explain why the president hasn’t sat for an interview with investigators in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia Probe, Giuliani said he doesn’t want Trump to ‘trapped in perjury.’

Guilani went on to say, ‘And when you tell me that he should testify because he’s going to tell the truth and he should’t worry, well that’s so silly because that’s somebody’s version of the truth, not the truth.’

‘Truth is truth,’ Meet the Press Anchor Chuck Todd, responded.

‘No it isn’t,’ Guilani replied.  ‘Truth isn’t truth.’    The Hill

John Brennan, former CIA Director, stated, ‘that it was nothing short of treasonous,’ when president Trump defended Russian president Vladimir Putin and criticized his own national security leaders in the question of Russian hacking of the DNC during the 2016 presidential election.

There is a reason why 175 former US officials signed a letter denouncing Trump for revoking, former CIA Director Brennan’s, Security clearance.

The letter states, ‘All of us believe it is critical to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure.  But we believe equally strongly that former government officials have the right to express their unclassified views on what they see as critical national security issues without fear of being punished for doing so.’   CNN

There is a reason why may prominent Republicans such as Washington Post columnist, George F. Will, and former Congressman, Joe Scarborough who is the co-anchor of the MSNBC show, Morning Joe, have left the Republican Party.

Our concern can not be over one man that somehow we thought was going to shake up Washington D.C. and ‘drain the swamp’…heaven knows that both need to be done…and the person for the job…may indeed be a republican….but the daily lies and obfuscations and hall of mirrors…is surely not the answer!





Time Travel Adventures

Please enjoy this wonderful blog by my son, Jonathon.


I enjoy time travel. Memories from fun times in the past live on whenever old friends and I reminisce about them. Photographs and travel journal entries also help me in my time travel adventures. Occasionally I’ll play an old Nintendo game on a new Retron game system that plays my video games from the 1980’s. Another way I time travel is through my recent collection of vinyl records. I’ve collected around fifty of them over the last few years. I travel to the past while I live in the present and dream of the future.

A secret to living a joyful and remarkable life is to live in the present as much as possible. If I’m out for coffee with a friend I’m one hundred percent there with interest in them and our conversation. Whenever I’m at work I put all of my best efforts into doing my jobs to…

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